Coppell High School senior Joanne Chen was accepted into the University of Texas at Austin to major in chemical engineering. Though Chen plans to attend medical school and become an orthodontist, she decided to major in chemical engineering at UT for her undergraduate education in order to gain experience in life sciences, which may be useful in medical school, and also have a career to fall back on if she changes her mind.
Chemical engineering isn’t a very common choice for many going into STEM majors. What made you choose it?
I wanted to do something in science for my college major, but I didn’t want to just have a plain science major, I wanted to do something a little more and a twist with it.
When did you realize you wanted to pursue this major/career path?
I really like math, so I didn’t want to do just a science-focused major but instead have a little bit [of] engineering aspects in it as well.
What were you thinking when you were accepted to UT?
I was super excited [when I found out I got into UT], it was unreal… and it was really unexpected because it was around the time everyone was just getting their decisions, and I was one of the earliest ones who was trickling in.
What are your plans after college/other higher education?
I originally wanted to be an orthodontist, which isn’t really related to chemical engineering, but I figured with that chemistry background, getting into medical school could be a viable choice. So, I figured if I didn’t want to pursue being an orthodontist, I could go into something more engineering-minded. As of now, I still want to be an orthodontist, and I will work towards that with my natural science portion of my major.
What are you most looking forward to most in college as a chemical engineering student?
I know the people in chemical engineering are very set on their studies, so being around people who are set on their goals and know what they want to do in life is going to be different Here in high school, everyone is kind of uncertain of what they will do in the future. With this major, I’ll meet a lot more people who are sure of what they want to do.